One of the attractive aspects of the RNCM Festival in recent years has been the success of the decision to include the emerging brass stars not just of the future, but also very much of the here and now.
The Junior RNCM Brass Band comprises talented young players from around the country who make the journey into Manchester each Saturday morning to gain invaluable tuition on their primary and secondary instruments.
Individual development is further enhanced by the experience gained in section and ensemble playing, the fruits of which were certainly shown here.
The familiar strains of Karl King’s march, ‘Barnum & Bailey’s Favourite’ bubbled with circus-ring verve and pop-corn excitement to open. The cracking tempo set by Les Neish never lost a watt of energy - the slides of the nine trombonists racing along in tandem like the connecting rods on the wheels of an old American steam locomotive.
Svante Henryson's 'Eyes of a Child' featured a brace of confident flugel leads, whose warm tonality and mature phrasing brought a relaxed, reflective aura to the music – noted and appreciated by the large audience in the RNCM Theatre.
The cracking tempo set by Les Neish never lost a watt of energy - the slides of the nine trombonists racing along in tandem like the connecting rods on the wheels of an old American steam locomotive.
Peter Graham’s early ‘Dimensions’ composition provided the substantial fulcrum of the concert – a work originally geared at Second Section level but which still retains bite in its accessible performance challenges over 35 years later.
Well structured and paced (the stylistic contrast between each of the three movements was clearly defined) it was a performance of considerable merit and substance.
Contrast came with Philip Sparke's beautiful 'A Quiet Moment', which once more showed control of phrasing, tonality and dynamics, before we closed with MD, Jon Malaxetxbarria able to leave the players to enjoy themselves with the fun and games of Gordon Goodwin's funky 'Samba del Gringo'.